The most awaited festival in India, Diwali, is just around the corner and the festive mood is already setting in with shopping sprees, card parties and beautiful lightings across India. This year, a special emphasis is on keeping the festival eco-friendly and pollution-free as much as possible. The Supreme Court of India has already issued guidelines ahead of Diwali to authorise sales of only ‘green and eco-friendly’ crackers, and in the capital, a two-hour time limit has been set to control the air pollution on the day of the festival. Not just the authorities, but even at individual level one can a lot to make a difference and celebrate an eco-conscious Diwali.
Mumbai-based socialite and entrepreneur, Dimple Nahar, plans to organise a programme and invite a guru and motivational speaker to share the message of positivity. She says, “We will use earthen diyas, handmade paper torans to decorate. Instead of oil, we will use ghee lamps made of clay and distribute healthy prasad. One can use coconut shells or orange peels lamps as temporary organic candles, and recycle the cans to use it as a candle holder for wall hangings. One can use cinnamon sticks to decorate the candle it will not only give a rustic look but will also leave a delightful smell in the vicinity. One can definitely avoid using chemical colours for rangoli, and opt for pulses, colourful painted rice or leaves, spice powders which are easily available at home. We also avoid bursting crackers and polluting the environment”
In cities like Delhi, where gifting is an integral part of festivals, Mandeep Nagi, designer and founder of Shades of India, wants to completely ditch gifts this year as she finds it a nuisance for traffic and air pollution. She says, “This Diwali, I have decided to not go anywhere to distribute gifts. I feel Indians waste a lot of fuel by visiting friends and family and I will not do that this year as part of my eco-friendly contribution. It will keep a check on receiving and passing the boxes of sweets that no one likes to keep.”
DIY crafts can be really handy if you are planning to create some interesting décor or small gift items for distribution. Moving away from the traditional dry-fruits, many people now want to exchange books as gifts to spread the light of knowledge. Delhi-based publisher, Ajay Mago of Om Books International, says that Indians should surely opt for eco-friendly ways to celebrate the occasion. He says, “Diwali is essentially a festival of lights so my personal favourites are the traditional clay diyas with wicks dipped in ghee, candles of various sizes and shapes neatly lined up on boundary walls, railings, just about everywhere. One can add to that strings fresh marigold and other flowers. And, for my friends and family, I would like to send them books in eco-friendly bags.”
There is a lot of buzz around the bursting of crackers and the pollution that people contribute to the environment in the name of the festival. If you are planning to throw an eco-friendly party, Prem Dewan, head of luxury brand Corneliani, shares some insights, “I just attended a Diwali Party which was eco-friendly with no compromise on having fun. A diya painting contests for the little ones which were used to decorate the homes with few flowers around it instead of electric lights to save electricity. The food was served on banana leaves instead of thermocol plates and earthen glasses and mugs instead of plastic cups. Instead of bursting crackers that add harmful toxic elements to the air, we launched paper lantern in the sky and the effect was surreal.”...